Mark 12:14-17 (ESV), “And they came and said to him (Jesus), ‘Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?’ But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, ‘Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius (a Roman coin) and let me look at it.’ And they brought one. And he said to them, ‘Whose likeness and inscription is this?’ They said to him, ‘Caesar’s.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’”
The emperor of Rome was called Caesar. The Jews lived under Roman law and they had to pay taxes to the government. Essentially, the Jewish crowd was asking if they should withhold tax money because it was supporting the oppressors of the Jewish people.
Jesus said money is printed or coined by the government. The money belongs to Rome. So, pay your taxes to Caesar – to Rome.
What does belong to God and how do Christians give to God what is His?
God made people. God wants us to return to Him. Jesus explained, “And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30 (NKJV)
God wants us to give Him our whole being – to love Him and serve Him forever. Romans 12:1-2 (NKJV), “…present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”